Pending Legislation Would Ban Gas Chambers at Michigan Animal Shelters

Plus other companion animal protection bills the Michigan Legislature is currently considering.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Animal advocates across the state are lobbying Michigan lawmakers to pass a number of important companion animal protection bills.

Senate Bill 354 would ban the "gas chamber" as a method to euthanize animals.

"Gas chambers are not a humane approach to euthanization and is not an acceptable practice among animal welfare organizations," said Elaine Greene, executive director of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter.

Euthanasia by injection is also safer for workers, and costs less than using a gas chamber, according to the Dearborn Animal Shelter's website.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 37 to 0 and is now awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Local Government. 

Senate Bill 560 has four components. If passed, it would:

  • Require breeders with more than 15 female breeding dogs to register with the State of Michigan and create humane guidelines, such as requiring breeders to vaccinate their dogs and treat them for parasites.   
  • Require that when euthanasia is necessary at a shelter, pet store or large-scale breeding facility, the procedure must be performed in accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.
  • Limit commercial breeders to keeping no more than 50 breeding female dogs.
  • Reduce the hold period in shelters for animals who are not owned to make it easier for shelters to place animals into new homes quickly and serve additional animals in need.

Two other pieces of legislation being considered, Senate Bills 285/286, would increase penalties for deliberate cruelty, including for cases involving large numbers of animals and for breeders and pet stores.  

"The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter is grateful that our legislators recognize the importance of humane treatment of these animals in our state," said Greene. "We support these bills."

Do you think the use of gas chambers in animal shelters should be banned in Michigan? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

You can also contact your state Representatives at house.michigan.gov, or your state Senators at senate.michigan.gov, to let them know whether you support these bills.

Carrie McGowan January 25, 2014 at 06:14 AM
SB 560 lowers the stray hold for cats in Michigan to 2 days. With the amount of cats killed in our shelters and the inability of our shelters to find them new homes, why in the world would ANYONE want to give THEIR owners to have less time to reclaim them? According to the fact sheet for SB 560 stray hold days would change to include day of intake an partial days. This would mean a shelter could (and some of them will) kill a cat the next day. This will also lower the the stray hold for dogs to two full days w/o id and 5 days for dogs with id. Why are stray hold changes shoved in a bill named "Large Scale Dog Breeder Bill"? Because someone knows it wouldn't pass on its own merit and someone wants you to think that SB 560 is good legislation. IT IS NOT! PLEASE do not support SB 560 unless/until the stray hold portion is removed.
Pam January 25, 2014 at 07:58 AM
I agree, Carrie. Why is the Dearborn Animal Shelter supporting this legislation without removing this hold? A good compromise would be to have a longer hold before animals could be euthanized but a shorter one for adoption.
Lee Jacobsen January 27, 2014 at 12:37 AM
Carrie and Pam are right on the money! Cat pet owners ( we have 4 cats from the shelter and I speak for myself) usually wait a day if a cat does not come around for food and attention, after all, they are cats and have free will to roam, unlike dogs, and may be having too much fun doing whatever. After the second day, time to roam the neighborhood and check the animal shelters. That makes 3 days almost a must, and, since dogs roam farther, 3 days at least for dogs as well. Who is our MI senate rep, time to get him on the bandwagon. Regarding costs of euthanasia, that can vary according to the size of the animal. An intravenous injection of sodium pentobarbital is best for the average pet in the local Dearborn area. A farmer I know would say that such an injection would take too long for a horse, and uses a pistol instead. Reminds me of getting rid of varmits (rats) around the Detroit warehouse years ago, hired local kids with their air pistols, $1 per rat tail, got too expensive so went back to setting traps. However , rats are not beloved pets, and pets should be put to sleep mercifully. It is very hard to lose a pet, as they are members of the family, and bottom line, we need more time to find them when they are lost, and more humane ways to put them to sleep when they are suffering too much. Thumbs down on this law!


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